Physics 110/111/114/115 Labs

Course Support
Lab Contents

Lab Notebooks

You are expected to keep a proper notebook in the lab. The notebook and the keeping of records therein are described in the appendix. Parts of your notebook may be graded for short evaluations. In addition, you will be using your notebook to produce formal reports as well as answer short evaluation questions.

Your notebook will not be returned to you and will be destroyed after one year. An exception can be made for the return of your notebook after one year by submitting a letter stating the request and the reason to the Physics Department.

Significant Figures

Significant figures in quoting a value or result is an area of some confusion for students. The physics lab teaches the determination of the significance of a result by a formal analysis of uncertainties. In other areas, uncertainties may not be analyzed and the significance of a result is estimated. In your physics class most results are requested to be rounded to three significant figures. In chemistry, the least significant value in the calculation is used while in math the exact form may be required. Note that all of these areas expect values to be estimated to a reasonable significance as defined by the area, with the physics lab teaching the formal approach to error analysis and significant figures.

For the physics lab, the best estimate is expected to have an uncertainty. The final resultant uncertainty is to be rounded to two significant figures. The final best estimate is to be rounded to the same significance (decimal place) as the uncertainty.

First Lab Period Requirements